suggs

It’s all a bit tense on the old Dandy social media at the moment. There hasn’t been this much sheep drama since a plane crashed into Emmerdale.  So why have we not sold as many tickets as we might have thought we had? And does it matter? From what I see there is no one defining factor. We are not in good form, albeit that may well be about to change, our recent Old Firm performances have been awful, it costs a lot of money, Scottish football is corrupt…

But to feel ashamed, to feel embarrassed is just ridiculous. That the Scottish football authorities can’t organize a football match, or an unbiased disciplinary committee, or don’t have a stadium fit for purpose, that isn’t in a neutral city, that we should be grateful to our directors for ONCE standing up for us, who singularly mismanaged our club since the day Alex ferguson left, didn’t upgrade our stadium, didn’t purchase the land around our stadium as it became available, didn’t build training facilities twenty years ago when it first became an issue, and are sticking our new stadium in a place with virtually no traffic infrastructure, and FIVE years after having our best manager in decades join the club put the necessary investment and creativity into AberDNA only when there is a building project that needs funding, and we are supposed to be grateful to, or apologetic to these fucking people. Fuck off.

We are the famous Aberdeen, and we’ll do what we fucking want! Stand Free.

 

 

 

spfl logo

spfl logo
Scottish football, where a team who’s supporters will travel on average the longest distance, at considerable cost and time, with a repeat journey with all the cost and time commitments if we get to the final, are made to feel not good enough for not selling as many tickets as a team who are virtually playing at home.

Brendan’s complaints regarding Celtic’s game being moved to Murrayfield are incredibly revealing. The Old Firm are well aware of the enormous advantage that Hampden gives them every time they play there.

We ought to be excited about an upcoming semi-final and the SPFL and our opposition should be honoured to have us there, and respect and acknowledge the clear advantages that Glasgow clubs have in a clearly rigged ‘neutral’ venue.

Are we really supposed to be grateful they moved the time of the match? And did they even move it for us? More likely the absolute clusterfuck of an idea that four sets of supporters hitting the same venue on the same day could have resulted in mayhem.

And if Scotland had been playing at Pittodrie, and so few had turned up as there was against Portugal at Hampden, we’d be made to feel it was our, the north east of Scotland’s fault, and this would be a reason for no matches returning to Pittodrie.

And what of Milne’s request for a summit? It’s 2018, they don’t need to physically meet. Surely even the SFA, SPFL can arrange a Skype conference call, or get someone to show them how to turn Skype on.

Scottish football is a sick, sick world. Corrupt to the core.

spfl fire

spfl fire

McKenna’s suspension on the back of a number of strange SFA decisions this season, and the way those decisions are reached. Not that unusual, not that new, but seems more extreme than ever. In many ways these are odd times.

From Trump, to Brexit, to the Scottish Independence vote(s), a full scale environmental catastrophe developing, there is a lot of shit going down. Whoever you support, whoever you are with, watching it develop is most certainly very interesting, potentially quite concerning, and also very enlightening.

So what is the enlightenment regarding Scottish football? We know the years without The Rangers, our club did really well. Our support increased, our revenues increased, our position in the league were better than for decades. There are of course other Dek shaped variables to consider. But safe to say in the allotted period, had Celtic also not been there, we would have been champions, we’d have gained even more supporters, even more revenue, done even better.

At the moment, not only are we stronger financially than at any time in the last twenty years, so are Hearts, and so are Hibs. Scottish football is booming.

Since it’s now scientifically proven the other clubs in Scotland don’t need the Old Firm, and in fact it’s better without them, why on earth is the game being rigged in their favour?

Theories on why Scotland ‘needs a strong Old Firm’

Pure Glasgow bias

So who benefits from ‘Scotland needs a strong Old Firm’? Pure footballing bias is one part of it. Rangers and Celtic supporters in the media/football authorities. There’s clear Glasgow bias in other aspects of Scottish society. Glasgow is a great city, great people, this is the media and football establishment this is about.

For example the backdrop of BBC Scotland news. The view out their window. A visual metaphor of all they are interested in, and a gigantic advertisement for Glasgow, on every news bulletin.  They are marketing the city they love, on your TV licence money, and marketing the football clubs they support too.

Politics

There is probably an element of political control within Old Firm bias. In particular, The Union, has never needed a strong The Rangers, than ever before. No shit Sherlock! At the same time I’m well aware there will be plenty SNP voters in their support, and people who don’t want independence in the Aberdeen or Celtic support, but at the very least The Rangers, is a handy focal point for unionism. Take a look around central Aberdeen, statues of Queen Victoria, King Edward (yes there are other statues) read up on what Union Street is named after. Not coincidental. Political manipulation for the Union is a strong part of it.

Distraction

There is another theory, the Old Firm is the establishment’s distraction. If as many people are distracted by some sectarianism dressed up as a football match with wall to wall media coverage, they won’t question what the banks are up to. Amazon’s tax avoidance, Apple’s Facebook’s, Google’s, BP’s. Who owns the land in Scotland, the editor of The Daily Mail has an estate, really?! Imagine if we all went to visit, on the same day. Divide and rule. Sporting division, religious division, race division, ethnicity division, between the sexes, between the classes, all so the 1%ers can rule, and not pay tax.

Rank incompetence

Let’s face it, sheer fucking incompetence is very much a ‘go to’ for the establishment. Let us remember James Bond is fiction, the real one will be a former classmate of Boris Johnson and every bit as self entitled, incompetent a fuckwitt. With a gun.

I am sure there are other possible reasons.

How to fix it

The seldom mentioned  story of how it came about that The Rangers had to start in the bottom rung of Scottish football. That summer after the liquidation every commenter in the mainstream media insisted they had to start in the top tier. It went on all summer. The football authorities, the few sponsors associated with Scottish football, the TV companies, were all in the media insisting The Rangers start in the SPL. There was an absolute media blitz on why that had to happen.

But it didn’t happen. Why was that? The clue is when the decision was made as to which league they’d play in. Three weeks before the start of the season. Because football supporters wouldn’t purchase their season tickets. The long wait for a decision was the authorities convinced we’d purchase them. Not purchasing them until The Rangers were in the bottom tier, showed we were prepared to walk away from Scottish football, burn Scottish football to the ground metaphorically, if they started in the SPL. So they started in the bottom league. One of the greatest examples of football supporters standing up to the authorities of the establishment ever. Scotland’s mainstream media: it didn’t happen.

And that shows what has to be done if we want Scottish football cleansed of it’s poison. We have to be prepared to walk away. To metaphorically burn Pittodrie to the ground. Or nothing will change. The Old Firm need us, all the Scottish clubs, way more than the other way round, but they need us to be their whipping boys, and the last few years has made us and other clubs strong, and one half of The Old Firm not dominant enough. Hence the recent decisions.

 

 

charlie nicholas aberdeen training

It’s all very well wallowing in the brilliance of Charlie Nicholas’s goal against Celtic, that hit the back of the net without touching the ground from the keeper’s hands, without mentioning the rest of the game. It’s football, it’s never just one thing, it’s never straight forward, without complications.

If you were at that game, you remember that goal. I’ve been to lots of games I remember almost nothing about. This game I remember.

I had this flatmate Kev from Essex. A post grad something or other. Kev was a Gooner. Kev was so laid back to be almost asleep. Kev had an incredibly dry wit and he knew how to wind me up no end.

He once said he thought sex was over rated in a nonchalant way, and he didn’t really enjoy it. His girlfriend was stunning. I was single. He was that guy, and still infuriatingly likeable.

Kev would say ‘Scottish football is rubbish’, and ‘never got what the fuss had been about Charlie Nicholas when he had arrived at Arsenal anyway’, ‘He was supposed to score all these goals…’, ‘just because he scored in a cup final’, ‘always thought he was shit’.

I won’t take the bait, I won’t take the bait, I won’t take the bait, I took the bait… and then off he’d fuck to his room.

So me and Kev were at Aberdeen v Celtic. Bobby Mimms kicks, Gillhaus’s head, over Charlie’s shoulder, BANG. Pittodrie erupts. I erupt. On my way back down from ten feet in the air, I remember what was really important at that moment. Amongst all the celebration in the South Stand, I turn to Kev, look him straight in the eyes, and nod, THERE!

Victory is mine

Thanks to that goal, I have won. Scottish football is not rubbish, it is fantastic, Charlie Nicholas is a brilliant player, and Aberdeen are by far the greatest team the world has ever seen…

Of course Kev doesn’t respond, as he is too laid back to show any emotion, or care about anything, ever, but there is a hint of defeat on his face. All I needed for victory. So I sit back and wait for Aberdeen to kick on. A packed Pittodrie, Gillhaus and Charlie have just combined for that goal, let the show really begin.

They did literally fuck all the rest of the game. With every passing minute, I could feel my victory slipping away. Celtic equalize. Maybe this will wake them up to kick on. They’ll hit the ‘total football button’, and push on to a brilliant victory against a pretty piss poor Celtic team.

Did they fuck. I’m not sure if Charlie Nicholas even touched the ball again that game. Like a collection of mercenaries who believe they’d done what they were paid for, and are just going through the motions.

As the game goes on, I stupidly glance towards Kev. The hint of a smug little grin is back. No words are being spoken, he doesn’t need to. I’m getting angrier and angrier. With Scottish football, with Charlie fucking Nicholas, with that bastard Kev.

Training days

charlie nicholas aberdeen training

Charlie Nicholas training at Aberdeen. You see if ye tuck yer sweatshirt intae yer troosers, yer gonna look a wee bit fat there Charlie. I took this photo when I was an art student. I got permission from the club. A letter from Ian Porterfield himself! The idea was I’d take photos with a view to an illustration project. Little bit of a problem, despite having borrowed a zoom lens from a fellow student (nothing like what the pros use) being a shy young fella, I didn’t get close enough to them, for it to make any difference.

willie miller aberdeen training

Yeah, the coolest man on the park, the coolest man in the world…
Peter Nicholas on the ball. Not sure the two behind him. Big Bri, Wullie, and a young Michael Watt, who was third keeper then. I remember a huge cheer from all the players after a good save. I think probably very new to first team training.

aberdeen fc training

I lost about a half a stone that day from the sheer anxiety of the experience.  I don’t think Wullie was impressed with the far off, anxious looking art student in his denim jacket and jeans, a wee bit too far away…
Tom Jones, Paul Wright, Peter Nicholas, I think Ian Robertson, Willie Miller, Alex McLeish.

john hewitt aberdeen

Aye is it.

charlie nicholas aberdeen celtic

charlie nicholas aberdeen

How Charlie Nicholas signed for Aberdeen was a fascinating story. This is all pre Sky TV where very little football was on TV, live at any rate, and the money in England was nothing like now. Charlie had been the most sought after player in the UK while at Celtic. He turned down Liverpool. The all conquering Liverpool of the seventies and early eighties. He chose Arsenal. Odd to think now but Charlie Nicholas was considered a looker, a sex symbol, was on the covers of magazines, was quite the star. And had probably quite the lifestyle to go with it.

Then George Graham took over at Arsenal. Graham decided he didn’t want him.

But why did we get him? One reason was, we had the cash. Aberdeen FC were a very cash rich club for a few years. The Ferguson legacy money. All those trophies, all that success, buying cheap, selling expensive, developing talent, not paying exorbitant salaries. A very well run club, who’d had the manager of a generation in charge. They had even developed parts of the stadium, something very unusual at that time in British football. All very sound management.

Ian Porterfield who came next, said after he had left the club, ‘you’ve no idea, how much money I had to spend. But I wouldn’t just blow it’. Something like that. But he did sign Charlie Nicholas. And unforgivably punted Peter Weir out the door almost the same day. Because the one thing Charlie Nicholas wasn’t going to need was a winger to supply him with ammo…

When Nicholas signed, Brian Clough made an odd comment, ‘that’s a long way to go for a game of football’. It seems Graham wouldn’t sell Nicholas to any of Arsenal’s rivals. Any of the clubs that could have afforded his then wages, or with managers who could have gotten the slightly wayward Nicholas back on track.

I saw an interview with Nicholas recently where he said he was lined up to go to France, Graham scuppered it for him (this is pre-Bosman) and Nicholas believed it was out of jealousy.

For the next few years George Graham’s Arsenal would go onto huge success. Not only shafted by Graham, but to sit back and watch him, and his former team mates doing very well, must have been incredibly hard, or at least very mixed emotions.

Charlie himself never showed it, publicly at least. He was always very positive about the city of Aberdeen, and the club, without ever patronising us supporters either. There must have been a fair bit of tabloid pressure on him. From Stringfellows nightclub to training at Balgownie kind of thing.

The Wenger years

As it turned out, Graham was sacked by Arsenal when he got caught stealing. He then went to a couple of different clubs where a pattern emerged. At Leeds Utd, their star striker Yeboah, dropped, finished, Thomas Brolin the same. At Spurs, Ginola, dropped, finished. What they all have in common with Charlie, they were presumably underperforming, but they were probably the most naturally gifted players in their respective squads, and as flair players, loved by supporters. Was it to engender team spirit, or to show who was in charge, or did Graham just like to destroy a career?

I went to an Arsenal game once at Highbury under Graham when I moved to London in 93. It was against Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup, in what would become Clough’s last season. Inside twenty minutes Ian Wright had scored two sensational goals. Incredible to see. English football was fab. www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2byTsNG2FA (looks like a Pathe Newsreel now…)

They then 30 minutes in, proceeded to park the bus. 2-0 up, playing at home, against a Forest team that would eventually be relegated. So ‘boring boring Arsenal’ wasn’t just a bit of football banter. George Graham’s teams were horrible to watch.


Update: After posting this I bumped into Graham Hunter’s interview with Charlie Nicholas. Highly recommended listening. www.grahamhunter.tv/category/the-big-interview/. The rest of his work is also outstanding.

———————–

Why the bottle of Becks in the illustration? Whenever Gordon Reid drew ‘Champagne Charlie’ in The Northern Light fanzine, he invariably had a bottle of Becks in his hand. I always thought it incredibly funny. Cheers Gordon!

And the Mimms, Gillhaus, Charlie goal. www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFhbeK_vu2M

Leighton Snelders

Jim Leighton versus Theo Snelders, who was best?

social media

From time to time, the opinions and attitude of the Aberdeen support on social media is questioned, and as to just how representative of the Aberdeen support in general it is. The wonderful thing about fitba is all the different opinions, all the brilliant discussions, it shows the passion and importance of the game. But what can be read into the feelings of the support over a specific issue, or in general?

This caught my eye www.letsdothefortytwo.wordpress.com/2018/09/09/a-defence-of-derek-mcinnes/, an interesting article in a good blog, taking a look at the anti Derek McInnes Aberdeen supporters views on Twitter. And while I completely disagree with saying any negativity is because of who he played for in the past, there were those who said that about Calderwood’s sacking, there’s a Sir Alex Ferguson example to kind of destroy that bullshit, there is some good analysis.

And not the first time I have heard commentators judge the Aberdeen support based on social media reactions. So with a combination of my knowledge of having a Facebook page with over 10000 followers, and a Twitter page of 1000 followers I thought I would share my observations, and conduct a little experiment. And the experiment didn’t turn out the way I had expected.

Meme me up Scotty

What I post on social media, I post for me. That’s why I do it. As a designer it’s my online sketchbook. I am of course a Dandy, and I occasionally share my opinions or stupid stories, generally speaking I consider every blog post to probably be my last.

After over a thousands memes and illustrations posted on Facebook, I genuinely don’t know which posts will be successful, and which won’t. I do know, no-one cares about my use of colour, my choice of font, the line-height and spacing, or whether my illustrations are any good or not. But, the right meme at the right time, and bingo, off it will fly, viral within our niche community far and wide. I now understand why comedians do test shows for new material. What you think people will like, is almost impossible to judge.

But I would say, positive posts will always do far better than negative ones. Posts supportive of the team, and/or the individuals in the team, will get more likes, more shares, bigger audience reach. So take that for your ‘typical Aberdeen supporter, always moaning’.

Twitter is a lot darker than Facebook. Most people are behind their real names, real identities on Facebook, with parents, kids, friends monitoring to make sure  ‘the real you’ isn’t on show. On Twitter, well they aren’t. And it’s on Twitter where an element of the Aberdeen support can be most negative. Most critical of McInnes, of individual players, of elements in the Aberdeen support who are more positive than them.

The experiment

So the experiment was a silly meme on the current bête noire (quick Google, aye it fits) of the Afc support, Stevie May. And I deliberately was pushing buttons. This isn’t about Stevie May. It’s about social media, and the test sure as hell wasn’t scientific. There are dozens of variables I am aware of, let alone a more skilled observer.

So ‘I believe in Stevie May’ picked up on Facebook 228 likes 8 loves, and then in the negative column 15 haha, 1 sad, 1 angry. Making a score of 236 for the meme, 17 against. I am well aware plenty people who see a post do not, whether they like or dislike, use the icons.

Then the comments were more negative. And a lot of comments, a contentious subject matter. Eighty comments. I divided them up as positive (for Stevie), negative, and neutral. It worked out at 33%, 33%, 33%, pretty much.

Over on Twitter, where I expected to get flamed. (The page has a much smaller audience) 60 likes, 14 comments, all positive. I know!?! I was close to tweeting to ask if everyone was okay…

Result

As I said, not scientific, certain people on Twitter maybe were doing their evening classes, embroidery, trolling classes, community service? Who knows. But that’s what came back.

Now the overall result, which is what I did expect, though not at this level on this meme, is that the Aberdeen support are generally a very positive, and supportive collective of people towards Derek McInnes’s Aberdeen Football Club, including Stevie May, albeit sometimes a little bit quiet about it. The negative element is small, actually tiny, but very, very loud, particularly on social media.

The main thing though is, look how cute the guinea pig is…

And here’s the meme.

stevie may

A look back at the talking points from Aberdeen Motherwell 22/09/2018.

“These guys have contacts in Dubai and one of them had asked if it would be possible for Ed Sheeran to play there and they then asked me.

“When I first considered it, I thought ‘How the hell do you go about that?’ and then I realised he was playing at Hampden in the summer so I contacted those in the know.

“They put me in touch and I quickly established he had been there last year and wasn’t coming again, so within a couple of days I had them a very clear answer.”

Mark McGhee. www.bbc.com/sport/football/45573933

So, you want to contact Ed Sheeran’s manager?

I know how to do it, you know how to do it, I know this as you are reading this online. 2018 is the year you and I are living in.

Now we’ve all got Ed Sheeran’s manager’s contact details, because it’s not a fucking secret!

And it took, almost two minutes to find. And if we got in touch, we’d probably have a reply from one of his assistants within the hour. Probably with a ‘no, but thanks for your enquiry’, Sheeran’s probably booked up at least two years in advance at any given time.

Meanwhile back in Mark McGhee world

Ring ring.

Hello, The Scottish Football Association, how can I help you?

Oh hi Mark, what can I help you with?

Sorry what?!

Yeah boss, it’s Mark McGhee on the phone.

Oh yeah, how can we help him.

We-ell, he’s after Ed Sheeran’s contact details.

Sorry what, I thought for a second you said…

We’re the SFA, we can’t organise Scottish football, why on earth would…

Wait a minute, wait a minute. Let me make a phone call.

Hello is that Craigie Broon, how are ya?

Didn’t one of your ex girl friends used to go out with Ed Sheeran?

Thought so, do you have his manager’s number? Can you dig out your filofax?

And after only three days, our tactical genius Mark got the answer.

You can contact the Mark McGhee Detective Agency on fax number 9-0…

___________

Does anyone else think the Mark McGhee Detective Agency would make a brilliant Sunday evening crime drama. Does anyone have the number for a BBC commissioning editor? What am I thinking, I’ll call the SFA…

___________

Still love the man to bits. Always a legend. Just go watch the CWC Final.

machine gun

machine gun

Lots of calls for Bruce Anderson to start for Aberdeen, and calls that it should have happened already. Here’s why I think he shouldn’t.

Right now, at Bruce Anderson’s age, and point of development as a player, Anderson’s career is more important than Aberdeen F.C’s results. Albeit that is with a view to Anderson’s long term development being for the good of Aberdeen FC.

At the moment, Anderson will be training like a beast, listening to every piece of advice he is being given, analysing every second of his fifteen minutes or so on the pitch, and itching to try out stuff in training matches and development games. He will be improving, week on week, day by day, developing to reach his full potential. When he comes on as sub, he is an energy bomb desperate to deliver.

I hope he isn’t reading this, but right now, might just be the best time he will ever have in his life. Life is a journey, not a destination. Hovering on the edge of really making it, must be incredibly exciting. And by christ, you probably do what you’re told…

If we lose, he is not responsible, not to blame, if he misses a chance it won’t be that decisive. He can go back to training with no negative pressure on him. Only the positive, internal pressure of wanting to improve, wanting to get that first team start.

If he starts a game, and we lose, if he misses an important chance at 0-0, if he has to be subbed after 70 minutes with the game not going well, if some experienced veteran defender gets the better of him, it will put enormous pressure on him. When he is training, that pressure will stay with him. It can be like a fifty kilo weight on his shoulders. He won’t listen properly, his energy levels will fall, self doubt will creep in at a goal scoring opportunity. It could destroy his development if he is thrown in too early.

Why was it okay for McKenna? Defenders have to stop fifteen, twenty attacks a game. You make a mistake, you have other defenders to help, and Big Joe to mop up after you. There is pressure, but nothing like that of a centre forward, or for that matter a goalkeeper. One mistake, and the match is decided, entire careers have been defined by a couple of errors. Same reason we took in Woodman when Lewis was injured, instead of using Rodgers. Midfielders, wingers, full backs, can all hide for a bit during a game. Forwards can’t, everything must count.

Less confident managers would have started Anderson by now with our other forwards performing poorly so far. Right now Stevie May is taking all the flak, if nothing else it’s protecting Cosgrove and Anderson from getting it. He’s paid well, he’s older, he’ll know he’s not delivering.

McInnes’s great skill is the ability to make the team better than the sum of it’s parts. That is yet to happen this season. They’ll go away and train together, keep working and eventually it’ll click. It’s McInnes, it always does. And maybe Anderson will start the next match, but only because he’s ready, not because we need him.

The photo: When you’ve got your own blog, you can find an appropriate photo, or just find a photo you think is kinda cool…

mckenna

An interesting transfer window. Did we spend all the transfer budget plus the DNA money on what we got? It could be. Wilson is a different type of signing for us. We are not developing him for his parent club, we are just running down his contract for Utd.

United have nothing to gain from him being with us, other than paying a percentage of his wages. So did they accept 5k a week on the back of his reported 30k a week at Utd. McInnes doesn’t give much away, occasionally a wee hint is given, there was a passing remark about the Chairman needing to take a lie down after the Wilson signing. The dice are cast…

There are risks with every signing. With our budget McInnes has to take more risks in the market. Also if a player fails with us, I think we can be far more forgiving with McInnes, let’s face it, it’s him who’s generated the cash for them. Our club’s revenue is probably double what it was before he arrived.

There are other possibilities for this window, did something fall through late on? Cash being kept for a later transfer window? Did us turning down the laughable McKenna offer from Celtic scupper Christie coming to us? Perhaps Christie turned us down, our salary offer.

I thought it odd when Greg Stewart signed for Kilmarnock, and quite so late. Had he been on a waiting list? He was certainly unlucky in that had McGinn not come back, he would probably be a permanent Aberdeen player now.

Aber dinnae be stupid min

The AberDNA initiative has added to the player budget. Anything that brings in increased revenue to the club can only be good. One slight concern, is the phrase ‘all profits from AberDNA will be used exclusively to support the Football Operation’ being kind of meaningless, when not followed by, ‘and we will maintain our current level of spending on the squad from our other revenue’. Whatever percentage it was.

Not in any way judgemental, safe to say none of the directors are syphoning the cash into their own pockets, but if other cash is going on training facilities, infrastructure etc. that previously was going on players, maybe state that. Just a suggestion, all those giving, are giving to help the club, training facilities are most certainly helping the club, however late in the day they finally come.

It has just given a certain expectation regarding transfers that felt a bit of a let down when the transfer window closed.

A look at Celtic and their friends in the media

mckenna

This meme was after Celtic announced they were no longer interested in McKenna. Is it just me, or does that Porsche look a bit like Scott?

Just me then.

Also we discovered McInnes had tried a number of times to take Wilson to Pittodrie from Man Utd before. Yet not a word in the media until he arrived. So why did Celtic make their bid public on McKenna, when clearly with Aberdeen turning down 7 million from Aston Villa, Celtic were told how much it would take for Celtic to get him. Presumably 10 million plus. So why did Brendan or Celtic directors go very public on the back of a Champions League exit and an embarrassing inability to sign McGinn from Hibs for a relatively trivial amount of money by their standards.

Aberdeen and McKenna being used by the morally bankrupt Glasgow media as a diversion to help Celtic FC, including the licence fee funded BBC. No articles in the same Glasgow media about the chances of Rodgers managing in the EPL before the end of the season. Ten managers got the sack in the EPL last season. Lots of foreign managers untried in England in new jobs. Football directors are often reactionary in their managerial choices. A young manager failed, let’s go with someone older and vice versa. No EPL experience failed, let’s try someone who knows the league.

Brendan Rodgers will be on a lot of clubs list now as a safe pair of hands in a high risk business. A 150 million quid per year risk. Just remember what he did at Swansea. And he can only stay away so long before he is no longer relevant. No Champions League matches to keep him occupied. A board not matching his ambition. Twelve months tops. All patently obvious, but why no mention in Scotland’s not fit for purpose MSM?

dandy lion

dandy lion

With discussions getting heated between supporters over the merits of singing the Durrant song, I will go into how I remember the event and the aftermath. It was the beginning of the Souness era. We had been top dogs, they were trying to take that from us, spending vast sums of money.

I was at the game, tensions were very high. They had signed a Gothenburg great, Neale Cooper from Aston Villa. I don’t know the details, but as I remember, there was a photo in the Evening Express of Neale training with the Aberdeen squad. It had come that close. As I remember there had been difficulties between Aston Villa and Aberdeen when Neale left. Haggling over the fee by Villa.  When it didn’t work out, and Aberdeen tried to bring him back, they started haggling the other way. I believe Doug Ellis would have been there then. On a point of principle, Aberdeen backed out of the deal. Souness stepped in. Something very similar happened when Peter Weir was to return to Scotland from Leicester. So he went to St Mirren. Fantastic Aberdeen FC directors principles. Again, I wasn’t there, I haven’t researched it, it’s how I remember it.

At the game, who scores for them, but Neale. The atmosphere is horrible. So many emotions. A couple of odd things I remember at the game. Two old guys in front of me, criticising the Aberdeen players during the warm up, they never stopped moaning. There was a lot of noise, unfortunately all my ears could hear was those two. As if it was the only channel my ears could pick up.

I also remember the photographers after half time. Something very new then happened. There were far more photographers back then for a game like that. Print media was bigger, and no digital photography. It was one nil them at half time, almost all the photographers went behind the Aberdeen goal for the second half. We won 2-1.

The tackle. I had a good view. For the first and last time at a football match, I turned my head away instinctively. As a football supporter, you’ve no idea how bad someone is hurt, the only instinct, hope Simmie isn’t sent off. The two old guys in front of me, then come into their own. ‘Didnae look like a foul to me’. No word of a lie.

After a very long delay, off goes Durrant. Unbelievably unprofessionally, and doing immense damage to his knee I’d imagine, on a physio’s back.

The sad but ominous site of Durrant piggy-backed off. The two old guys, ‘Well that’ll be Rangers excuse the morin’. I’m warming to them now.

Afterwards was horrific. The Glasgow media showing themselves for the vile, dangerous, pig ignorant arseholes that they are. Simmie was in a Scotland squad at the time, never picked again. Every game, they’d bring it up, we were also their biggest rivals. I’d say also the Glasgow media wouldn’t have enjoyed the Ferguson years. This was payback.

There was another element with Souness. As a Scotland player playing for Liverpool, then Sampdoria, he was deeply unpopular with the Glasgow media. Any bad Scotland result and the Glasgow media would blame the strutting ‘Anglo-Scot’. The ferocious back peddling they had to do when he took over at Rangers, to prove their loyalty to Souness, was nothing short of sick. A precedent that would lead to the death of Rangers, and a bad word on Sir David Murray yet to be written in the Scottish MSM.

Whatever footballing rivalries, no matter what is done, or said in the height of passion of a football match, no-one wants another human hurt (seriously hurt). Last week people shouting at Jack in the back of an ambulance? We saw him walk off the fucking pitch. He was clearly not out for long.

When I first became a Pittodrie season ticket holder as a student it was the Porterfield years. Not that much excitement. One of my fondest memories at Pittodrie, was Simmie after being out for a spell injured, starting to warm up from the substitutes bench. The buzz, the atmosphere, the anticipation, the sheer love that came down from the support was amazing. And that was before that tackle.

He made a mistake, we are all human, let him and Durrant forget it. What is the worst in my opinion, is the absolute legend that is Neil Simpson, a sensational hard, but fair and incredibly skilled midfielder, (look at that goal against Waterschei) is remembered for THAT tackle, and not everything else. And singing that fucking song, is continuing that. You want to provoke The Rangers, why are you singing a song that relates to a dead club? And why sing it at Dens Park? There’s a million ways to provoke them. But that isn’t one of them.

buckie thistle

buckie thistle

A Dons team just played Buckie Thistle at Victoria Park. I wasn’t there, it’s a while since I saw a Dons team play Buckie Thistle.

After the match they came to the hotel my father managed for a meal. It was all quite casual, various local businesses contributing as part of the event. I was a kid, I went round them, pretty boisterous bunch, getting autographs.

One player out of the whole squad takes time to talk to the kid. Really making the kid feel special. He also does it with the waiting staff. Everyone really likes this one player.

There is no judgement on the other players. They are having their dinner, unwinding after a match.

Jump forward a few years. I am working behind the bar at The Egg and Dart. Corner of Queens Road and Anderson Drive, sadly no longer there. It was a lovely bar. Proper investment went into it. Family owned and run, they had bespoke illustrations on the wall, proper chefs working in their kitchen. They had a brilliant cocktail menu. Literally the menu. I designed it! I got paid in cans of lager. I’m beginning to spot patterns in my life.

Anyways, I’m behind the bar one Sunday evening. It was a big place, with a large square bar in the middle, you could get served at all four sides.

In comes, Johnny Hewitt, Bobby Connor, Stewart McKimmie, Brian Grant and Davie Dodds. They were there a couple of hours, they had shandies, perhaps two the whole time, Johnny had a lager top. I’m telling you that bit, as I remember specifically what they had. While I have lived with women, and struggled to remember how they like their coffee in the morning.

So, they are at the bar, I have served them professionally, despite the voice in my head screaming, ‘I am pouring a pint for Johnny Hewitt’, they stay at the bar, it was definitely in my head, they didn’t hear it? I’m in the clear.

Any bar person will tell you, you can really observe from behind a bar. You disappear into the background, no one is aware of you, unless they want a drink, you are sober, you hear and see everything. You’re invisible.

The bar is relatively quiet. The first customer wanting another drink appears. Coincidently at this square bar, standing right next to the Aberdeen footballers to order. Having just managed to serve them and hold it together, I can sneer at the others trying to get close. As I am serving him, he makes a remark to Davie Dodds. Dodds is the outer member of the group, first point of contact. Something along the lines of ‘good game yesterday’.

It’s the Porterfield years. That’s unlikely.

Davie Dodds responds. Quite coldly. I’m disappointed in Davie Dodds at this. The guy had just made a bit of conversation, could have given a bit more.

I’m serving people steadily over the next hour or two, coincidently EVERYBODY, needs serving just next to where the Aberdeen players are. Everybody does a bit of banter, a bit of small talk, with Davie Dodds. As I watch Dodds reply in exactly the same manner, I see he is in fact not being cold, he is in fact being incredibly warm and generous with his time, by responding to, and acknowledging everyone, while not wishing to get into a conversation, as he is out with his friends/team mates. Big respect. I can see how tough it must be being a footballer in Aberdeen. We know them, they don’t know us. Everybody wants to be their friend. They are not multi millionaires like in the English league.

Back to Buckie. And the player, who spoke to everyone, who I never forgot, the old friend, was Andy Dornan. Gutted when he left.